BELMONT, Calif. - Casey Ryan
scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and James McCann
added 12 points and three assists to lead the UC San Diego men's basketball team to a 77-59 victory over Simon Fraser University on the final day of the Notre Dame de Namur Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday afternoon at Walter Gleason Gym.
The Tritons shot 55% in the first half and finished at 52.5% for the game to turn away the Clan and post their third consecutive victory. UCSD, which won both of its games in Belmont after defeating host NDNU on Friday, improves to 5-1 overall on the season.
Simon Fraser, which is in its first season as an NCAA Division II member, falls to 0-3 overall. The Clan dropped a 95-50 decision to San Francisco State in the tournament opener on Friday.
Ryan finished 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 at the free throw line to lead four Tritons in double figures. His 19 points and 12 boards were both season-highs and he also dished out a pair of assists in just 26 minutes.
McCann hit four of his five shots from the floor to reach double figures for the sixth straight game to open the season.
The junior center tandem of Ryan Wheeler and Christian Hatch combined for 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting, as Wheeler finished with a career-best 11 points and Hatch added 10. Both players finished 3-of-4 from the field.
After shooting just 35% against the Argonauts on Friday, the Tritons converted 11-of-20 first half shots to build a nine-point halftime lead Saturday, and hit 21-of-40 attempts overall. UCSD was dominant on the glass once again, outrebounding SFU 44-30, and held the Clan to just 33% shooting for the game.
"We had another good effort defensively and I thought that was the difference," head coach Chris Carlson said. "We shot the ball much better tonight than we did against Notre Dame, but we still defended extremely well and rebounded the basketball and that was the key."
Justin Brown scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Clan, hitting 7-of-18 shots from the field. He also finished with three assists and five steals. Ricky Berry added 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, but no other player scored more than seven for SFU.
The Tritons led by eight at 28-20 following a layup by Hatch with 13:22 left to play in the opening half, but Simon Fraser answered with a 8-1 run to pull within one at 21-20. UCSD would extend its advantage to 34-28 on a Wheeler basket with three minutes left and his score with 18 seconds on the clock gave the Tritons a 41-32 cushion heading into the locker room.
It was all UCSD in the second half, as the Tritons pushed the margin to 57-41 on a Ryan layup eight minutes into the period and a Hatch jumper gave UCSD its biggest lead at 70-52 with 4:19 left to play.
The Triton defense limited the Clan to just nine field goals in the second half on 26% shooting.
UCSD will now carry its three-game winning streak into next Friday's CCAA opener at Cal State Monterey Bay. The Tritons will then travel to San Francisco State for a matchup with the Gators on Saturday.